A reporter working for Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV was recently arrested by the Assam Police for allegedly sexually assaulting and kidnapping a female journalist. But, the local police, which reports to the BJP government of the state, is now being accused of working under pressure in the case. Aniruddha Bhakat Chutia, the Assam correspondent of Republic TV, was taken into police custody on the night of 1 December after the woman journalist filed a complaint, but was released ‘under pressure’ the following day.
According to Northeast Now website, a Guwahati-based female journalist had filed a case (no 3637/18) against Chutia for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting her. She reportedly approached the cops soon after being freed bya house in Joynagar area by her colleagues.
The complainant was quoted by the website, “I filed the complaint against Anirudha in the night of December 1, but the Police have not recorded my statement till today.” She also alleged that cops recorded her statement under section 161 two days after she filed the complaint.
Bhagya Deka, the investigating officer (IO) of the case, has confirmed the claims made by the woman journalist but said that one of his ‘sub Inspectors recorded her statement’ since he wasn’t present there. The cops, however, have no clue why her statement was not recorded before a magistrate.
“Accused Anirudha Bhakat forcefully took me from Six Mile area of the city to a house at Jayanagar while I was on my way to my residence from office. In the house, which was locked from outside, he first physically attacked me and when I tried to stop him, he sexually assaulted me,” the victim told Northeast Now.
“Police pressurized me to drop these two charges against the accused journalist,” she added.
Biren Baruah, the SHO of Dispur Police Station, told Janta Ka Reporter that there was no truth in the complainant’s allegations. “We are not working under anyone’s pressure. We arrested the accused and the matter is currently before the court,” Baruah said.
Another astonishing development in the case is that the cops released the accused Republic TV journalist hours after they took him into custody. Deka, in his defence, said that the investigation was going on. “If necessary, we will ask him to come to the police station and charge-sheet will be filed in the court in due course of time,” he said.
Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, the Republic TV reporter said that there was no truth in the female journalist’s allegations. He said that he was fully ‘cooperating’ with the police and visit the police station whenever he was called there.
Meanwhile, the complainant told The Wire website that the police was working under pressure ‘therefore released him from custody without even presenting him before a magistrate.’
“Though the police slapped Section 354 against him, he was released without being produced before a magistrate. The due process was not followed because they are acting under pressure,” she was quoted as saying.
Police have filed a case against Chutia under sections 354 (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 392 (Punishment for robbery), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.